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Timberwolves push back — say Rambis is safe and Rubio is coming

Mar 16, 2011, 10:18 AM EDT


We’ve passed along two recent reports about the Minnesota Timberwolves, neither of them particularly good for the franchise: One that coach Kurt Rambis may be let go at the end of the season, the other that Ricky Rubio seems to be leaning toward staying in Europe another season.

Wolves management is pushing back on those ideas.

Maybe the best was wrap up of that is from David Aldridge with

A team source insisted this weekend that it would take a major collapse down the stretch for management to even consider replacing Rambis, who got a four-year contract with the Wolves for that very reason — to take a lot of losses while developing the team’s young talent, including still-in-Europe Ricky Rubio. (The Wolves can buy out Rubio’s contract in Spain next season for $500,000, with Rubio paying the remainder, and Minnesota still expects Rubio will come over next year, regardless of whether there’s a lockout.) The Wolves have already won more games this season than last, with a month left in the season. Love, who clashed with Rambis last season, has seen that playing on a really bad team won’t keep him from individual accolades like making the U.S. World Championship team last year and the All-Star team this year — and as such, the source claims, Love isn’t going anywhere when and if he becomes a free agent.

Three thoughts. First, Rambis really should not be in trouble. He was not given the talent to win, he has done about what should be expected with teams he has. That said, it still feels like they are not really building a triangle team there (and that’s what Rambis was hired to run), especially when they get Rubio in the fold, so the question of style of play is out there. Rambis has certainly tweaked the offense and used it differently in some ways than Phil Jackson does, but more adjustments may be needed. Many more.

Second, discussing what Love may do before we see the new CBA is kind of moot. But, in the current system, most max players sign that first max deal with the hometown team (which was larger than what other teams could sign them too). Movement of guys tends to happen after that second deal, more like seven years in.

Finally, Rubio has to make a decision in May or June on his plans for next year. The new NBA CBA will not be in place by then. Maybe he decides to sign a deal under this CBA and risk a lockout. But his interview in Spain, and logic, suggests he may stay in Europe another season and let the NBA labor situation play its way out, then come over.

  1. jstrizzle - Mar 16, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Great article and good break down about Rambis and his struggles. People so quickly pass over the fact that this team is so young and basically all new. We have 3 people currently on the roster from last years squad so that means lack of chemistry. Plus we have so many young players which is apparent because we have the youngest roster in the NBA. So we have players trying to learn to play in the NBA with other people doing the same. On top of that they hardly know each other. Look what lack of chemistry did to the heat to start the year and they have 2 superstars.

    This doesn’t mean Rambis will be coach of the year anytime soon just that these players need time to develop. A new coach every 2 seasons will only hinder that.

  2. jimsjam33 - Mar 16, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Man ,

    No comments about the Wolves , not even from Minnesota . Okay then , Rambis is one good coach . The players love him and they put on a good show . The problem ? Not enough quality players. Yes , they have Love and Beasley , but don’t compare that with James and Wade. They need Rubio and the rest of their squad to stay healthy . When Corey Brewer is your small forward you’re in trouble . He can’t shoot from five feet out . He’s gone and now the T-Wolves can look fforward to next year . Any big name free agents want to come to Minnesota. Hmmm . No that’s the problem not the coach . thumbs up for Rambis …he’s first class all the way . By the way keep Darko . He’s developing into a pretty good center .

  3. ocgunslinger - Mar 18, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Dumping a coach is usually the way of losing teams……make that losing management. Coaches coach what the GM supplies. I don’t see the Celtics, Lakers, Spurs, Jazz, Nuggets and other consistently competitive team changing coaches every 2 or 3 years. Maybe there is a reason?

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